. . . . .
"We got him."
Kensi looked up from that damn window as the sun set over LA. It was a gorgeous picture and she'd put in a long day wading through Frank Callahan's house. The man had tried to cover everything, but he'd made one mistake. He had a house in Culver City in his father's name, and that's where they'd hit the jackpot.
"He definitely kept trophies," Callen told her, coming up beside her. His shoulder brushed hers boldly. There was nothing tentative about the man at her shoulder now. He knew what he wanted and it was painfully obvious to Kensi that what he wanted was her. "Every knife. DNA's matching it now, but it'll do it."
She blew out a breath. "Good."
He stepped closer, his shoulder now pressing against hers. "The case is over."
Oh. Oh that. Oh she knew what he was going for. She had a decision to make. A decision she wasn't sure she was ready to make.
She wasn't exactly the 'dating' type. She had first date game and after that… she closed off. She didn't talk about her issues, she didn't talk about her problems, she didn't do anything that a regular girlfriend would do. She didn't rely on anyone; she fought everything that came characteristically with a relationship.
"It is," she said quietly. She gripped her elbows. "Callen, it's insane."
She pressed back against him subconsciously because regardless of how terrible a relationship with him would be, she couldn't even deny to herself that she needed him. "I'm not a girlfriend girl. And you can't tell me that a relationship between us can be anything less. It can't."
"We'd be risking too much."
Relief flooded through her. She didn't have to put it into words, didn't have to try and figure out the right way to say it. "Exactly. It's a lot of pressure. We're friends, we're co-workers and if-"
"Maybe it's when." She felt his shoulders shake behind her. He was laughing at her, laughing at what she wanted so badly, but wasn't sure she was willing to take.
"How many times have you told me we'll explode?" he asked. He knew all the reasons not to. He could only guess at all the reasons they should. But Callen was a risk taker by nature and this, he knew, could be the biggest one. Ever. He could really only hope it would have equally as big of a payout.
"In the last week?" She sighed. "We have trust issues, we have a job that throws us undercover for months at a time, we have-"
"We see the same things. We do the same things. We understand the importance."
"We're lone wolves," she argued. "We both are. How can we make it work together?"
"Kenz? You're being repetitive."
"I'm trying to make you see!"
He pushed on her shoulder until she turned and stumbled, backing against the wall to keep her balance. "See what?" he asked following her until he was right in front of her, pressed against her. He wanted her to tell him, to his face, why they didn't work. They did. They worked at work and they worked the few times they went out to bars and they were definitely compatible when they had to play couples undercover. To him, now that he'd had the case to watch her, to think about it, it didn't make sense as to why they wouldn't really work.
Kensi sighed. "I can't leave this, Callen. Neither can you. And we're going to have to if this doesn't work."
He leaned forward, into her and lifted a hand to her cheek. Kensi's eyes widened. It wasn't the reaction she'd been expecting.
"I won't leave."
Coming from G Callen, it was a world-altering phrase and Kensi just blinked at him for a moment. Then she breathed, "What?"
"I'm not going anywhere, Kens. I have no plans to go anywhere."
"You're the most nomadic person I know," she managed to get out.
He sighed. Hadn't they gone through this? Hadn't she made a decision? He'd sure as hell hoped so but the way she was fighting him… He was getting discouraged and his heart was beating triple time in his chest. He was afraid of her answer because he was no longer sure it would be in his favour. "I have a house now and there's real furniture in it."
She wanted to believe. God, she wanted to believe. And searching his eyes, his face, the sincerity and the authenticity of the emotion almost made her believe it simply because he did. "You could break my heart."
And he looked her straight in the eye. "You're breaking mine."
She had the power to hurt him, she realized with a shock that actually made her jolt. Somewhere along the line, while she'd been sure he was going to hurt her, that his words were nothing when pushed against the indisputable evidence of his past, she'd missed the power she held.
"If you're going to ask me what changed, I don't have an answer for you. I don't have half of the answers to questions you want to ask. All I have is a freaking feeling that we can do this. That we won't fail spectacularly. And I'm holding onto that, because dammit, Kensi, it's never failed me before." His eyes darted back and forth between hers, looking for any sign that he'd gotten through.
And, it had never failed her. How many times had Callen been right? How many times had she trusted him? How many times had she trusted him with her heart? She was more emotional than Sam and Callen – there was no one more emotional than Deeks – and she didn't hide it as well as they did. Maybe deliberately, maybe she just wasn't as good at it away from the job, but when it came down to it, she talked things out. And she'd often talked things out with Callen. Beyond often.
So what would change? Nothing would change. Not really. She'd still talk to him, she'd still work with him, she'd just… be able to take advantage of him once in a while. And he could take advantage of her. Maybe it would be good for undercovers, to have a built in couple that knew everything they needed to know and more. Maybe it would be easier, simpler, make them a better team.
Maybe it would make them better people. It could, she knew, because her relationship with Jack, even with the little time they'd really had, had changed her. It had been a major influence on the agent she was, and the woman she was, and had made her stronger. Wasn't that a testament to the kinds of positive things that could come out of a solid relationship? Especially a relationship built on the foundation that she and Callen had.
"I don't want to doubt us," she admitted slowly, begging with her eyes for him to just let her talk it out. "I don't want to believe we'll fail. You're important to me, Callen, I care about you. A lot. A scary lot. And I want to say 'yes'. I want to jump into this with both feet and enjoy every minute of it."
"I will not walk away. You have my word. Period."
Kensi took a deep breath. Between his gut and his word, she really didn't have logical reasons to say no. He didn't go back on his word. His gut had never failed. "Good," she said after one last beat to tamp down the fear raging in her blood. Love was terrifying, even the potential of it. "Because I'm not walking away either."
He grinned and kissed her and Kensi didn't seem to care that they were in the hacienda of all places, in front of a window she could probably call 'theirs' about to embark on one of the most thrilling rides of her life. Maybe their lives. And though her heart was racing, she wasn't panicking. As terrifying as the decision was, as absolutely certain she'd been that they wouldn't work, she couldn't deny how good it felt.
Who knew? Maybe at the end of the day, they'd be each other's king's horses and men, and put each other back together again.
Huh. When I started this, and gave it the title, "Breaking" was in reference to Kensi breaking. But it kinda, indirectly and without any of my express permission managed to come full circle anyway. And goodness if I know where the last sentence came from. I've been swamped. My educational institution decided to screw me over with six months before my thesis is theoretically supposed to be in. Fun times.
Nevertheless, this is finished! But there's a new season and (SPOILER, kinda) they've talked about how much we're learning about both Kensi and Callen, so I won't be ruling out more NCIS LA in my future.
Thanks, honestly and truly and from the bottom of my heart to those of you who reviewed and stuck with me through the rollercoaster this turned out to be. I owe special thanks to gwasshoppa who kept me honest and on track. And to TwilightPony21, without whom this probably wouldn't have come to fruition. I owe you for encouraging my NCIS LA insanity.
I hope you enjoyed the final chapter and it tied up enough loose ends.